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PRINT March 2009

CUT AND PASTE: THE COLLAGE IMPULSE TODAY

Charlie White, Collage Timeline, 2009.

ONE COULD ARGUE that the current financial meltdown has been lurking behind every corner—that with each new height of global wealth, voices of reason warned that the bottom would surely fall out. Perhaps one such bellwether was the return of certain modernist strategies in art. Although most recuperations of this sort have been merely decorative or nostalgic, a few have been symptomatic of a desire to confront art’s embeddedness within political crisis, market fluctuation, and consumer taste. Collage—the medium of modernist shock par excellence—has made one such return: Though never completely absent from contemporary art practices, collage had become a lesser-used aesthetic language during the past three decades. Spurred back into play precisely amid dire political circumstances, images of terror, and an unending war, collage seems to be riding a wave of political

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